Dubai gov real estate platform aims to cut out agents

The Real Estate Self Transaction portal will allow landlords to sell and manage their properties online



Dubai Land Department (DLD) has announced plans for a real estate platform designed to cut out property management and service agents and reduce paper documents.

The Real Estate Self Transaction (REST) portal will allow landlords to sell and manage their properties online.

It includes functions like buying and selling and direct links with banks for mortgages.

A database of properties will allow banks to offer a direct mortgage, deposit the mortgage in the client’s account or decommission the mortgage after a sale and purchase, according to Dubai Media Office.

Landlords will also be able to rent their properties and pay for electricity, water and internet bills remotely, avoiding the need for property management and service agents.

Other functions will include the ability to appoint furnishing and decorating companies, with full access to online floor plans, and the management of all financial obligations relating to owners’ associations and approved trustees.

“By removing many traditional limitations in the real estate transaction process, the smart real estate system allows landlords to trade and sell their properties anytime and from anywhere in the world,” said DLD director general Sultan Butti bin Mejren.

DLD said it was partnering with developers, banks, government entities and technology providers for the project.

A team of “young Emirati professionals” is scheduled to fully develop the portal by the first quarter of 2020.

Plans for a similar blockchain database system allowing tenants to rent a property without handing over cheques or physical documentation were announced by DLD in October.

Read: Dubai property database will allow tenants to rent without cheques

The organisation said it expected the REST project to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.

A video accompanying the announcement indicated it could also help increase property sales by facilitating transactions where one party is not in the country.

Other advantages outlined in the clip include the ability to improve transaction speeds, automate processes, reduce the role of brokers and attract more investors.

The CEO of Binghatti Developers said he expected the platform to strengthen Dubai’s position as a real estate investment destination.

“DLD’s platform will encourage investment in Dubai as it will reduce numerous costs and increase the satisfaction and happiness of investors, especially foreign ones,” said Muhammed Binghatti. “These services will encourage them to massively invest in the Dubai property market.”

Another industry voice, listings site Dubizzle’s general manager for property, suggested the new platform may not be all bad news for agents.

“REST will make transactions faster and more efficient, especially for overseas buyers, we believe real estate agents will continue to have a critical role to play by shifting their focus towards delivering a high-quality experience, using this new technology to create seamless transactions for both vendors and buyers,” Samer Abdin said.

The REST portal comes under the 10X initiatives presented by 24 government entities to place Dubai’s public sector 10 years ahead of its global peers.

Other plans presented so far include a scheme encourage transit passengers to leave Dubai’s airport and visit the city, an initiative to improve the response time of the emirate’s fire service and the concurrent hearing of court cases to cut judgement times.

Read: Dubai allows transit passengers to leave airport for tours

DLD is also working on a new mortgage and finance law to revive the property sector after two years of falling rents and sales prices.

Read: Dubai gov proposes fee waivers, mortgage law, SME incentives to boost economy

Read: Dubai property rents down up to 5% in Q1, similar slump expected in Q2